2024 Missouri Legislative Session Comes to a Close

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The following is a legislative update from Clarkston Nelson, LLC concerning the Missouri General Assembly’s spring legislative session. Use the information within to inspire local coverage of issues important to your readers.

2024 Missouri Legislative Session Comes to a Close

The 2024 Missouri legislative session officially came to an end on Friday, May 17 at 3:00 p.m. The Missouri House passed 11 Senate bills on the last day of the session. Meanwhile the Missouri Senate had gaveled in that morning, heard a prayer, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and gaveled out to end its conflict for now.

In 2024, Missouri lawmakers filed a new record number of bills with a total of 2,607. On the last day of session, of those bills filed, only 46 reached the Governor’s desk and 18 of them are appropriations bills.

The Senate’s dysfunction was the culprit of the limited activity, and personality conflicts and unresolved issues from previous years led to much disagreement. Ultimately, disagreements also led to not one, but TWO record-setting filibusters in the Senate: the first being led by the Freedom Caucus regarding the renewal of the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA), which lasted for 41 hours. A week later, the second record filibuster, led by the Democratic caucus, lasted more than 51 hours regarding initiative petition reform.

This legislative session was also the first session of this century to not have a single conference committee review on a policy bill or compromise on budget bills. This led ultimately to a limited number of bills being Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed, barely surpassing the abbreviated 2020 COVID pandemic session which saw only 42 bills passed. The 2024 session, due to the beginning and ending calendar dates, provided for an additional two weeks more than last year, yet the extra time did not produce results for finding agreement on various issues.

Below is a summary of bills that we reported on this session and their fate. Governor Mike Parson’s administration will spend the next eight weeks reviewing the TAFP’d bills and issuing his signature and vetoes. On May 30, the General Assembly will send all passed legislation to the Governor’s office and this will begin the clock for his period of approval or disapproval. The Governor must act by July 15, 2024. Bills signed by the Governor will become law on August 28, unless they are passed with an emergency clause. In that event, they will become effective immediately upon signature.

In the coming weeks, Clarkston Nelson will report on signings and actions by the Governor. And this summer into the month of August will have candidates in the Primary Election spotlights. Election updates will be distributed by CN, also.

WHERE THE MAJOR ISSUES FROM PRE-SESSION ENDED

Both House and Senate leadership highlighted their priorities for 2024 back in December and again at the beginning of January. As you see below, this was clearly not a successful session for House and Senate leaders on shared priorities. Suggested priorities this session included:

  • Education reform/charter expansion (passed)
  • Initiative Petition reform (failed)
  • Sports betting (failed)
  • Tort reform (failed)
  • Personal property tax reform (failed)
  • Defund Planned Parenthood (passed)
  • Reforms to Missouri Public Service Commission on Electric Utilities (failed)
  • Ban sale of Agricultural Property to Foreigners (failed)
  • Establish Childcare Tax Credits for Employers (failed)

KEY UPCOMING DATES

  • June 30, 2024 – Final day for Governor to sign or line-item veto budget
  • July 1, 2024 – First day of new fiscal year
  • July 14, 2024 – Last day for Governor to sign or veto policy legislation
  • August 6, 2024 – Missouri Primary Elections
  • August 28, 2024 – Effective date for policy bills without emergency clauses
  • September 11, 2024 – Veto Session
  • November 5, 2024 – Missouri General Elections
  • December 1, 2024 – First day of bill prefiling for 2025 session
  • January 8, 2025 – First day of the 2025 Legislative session

Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed

HOUSE BILL 2062 – REAL PROPERTY

This bill enacts several provisions relating to the use of real property, including changes to property taxation, the broadening of the Land Bank Act to cover more areas, changes to the historic, rural revitalization, and regulatory streamlining act, and new enactments on business shutdown orders, electric vehicle charging infrastructure requirements, sewer liens, home inspections, and the pasturing of chickens.

PROTECTING MISSOURI’S SMALL BUSINESSES ACT

The bill establishes the “Protecting Missouri’s Small Businesses Act”. Beginning January 1,2025, any political subdivision implementing a shutdown order that results in a business closing solely due to the shutdown order for at least 14 consecutive days or 30 cumulative days must waive the fee for a business license during the period of the shutdown order or 6 months, whichever is longer, and reduce the real and personal property tax liability of the business as provided in the act. This act is not an exemption of property from taxation by the political subdivision, and any action taken by a political subdivision that results in a refund or revenues lost shall be construed as an exercise of the political subdivision’s authority to levy and collect local tax revenues.

LAND BANKS

This bill adds provisions to Section 140.010 concerning liens of the state on property with unpaid taxes to allow a county to elect to operate as a “partial opt-in county” for any parcel for which there is an unpaid tax bill for at least two years after its delinquent date after electing to establish a land bank agency under Section 140.981. The collector of the county will decide which tax delinquent parcels shall proceed according to the provisions of Sections 141.210 to 141.810, RSMo.

These parcels are exempt from the provisions of Sections 140.030 to 140.722. The collector must remove the parcels from any list of parcels advertised for first, second, third, or post-third sales.

The bill adds the following individuals to the list of those to whom land bank sales are prohibited: members of the governing body and employees of a land bank agency; elected or appointed officials of the governing body and employee of such officials, of the political subdivision in which a land bank agency is located; and those who are related to the above within the second degree of consanguinity.

A purchaser at any sale after the third offering of any land or lots, whether by the collector or a trustee as provided in section 140.260, may elect to proceed by giving notice to the collector before the issuance of a collector’s deed.

If no person redeems land sold for taxes under Section 140.420 before the expiration of the person’s right to redeem, the current law states that the collector will execute to the person’s heirs or assigns; the bill adds that specified parties that had a right, title, interest, claim, or equity of redemption on or to the lands or that had a lien upon the lands are foreclosed of such unclaimed right, title, interest, claim, or equity of redemption in or to the lands and of any lien upon the lands.

Currently, Sections 140.980 to 140.1015, RSMo, are referred to as the “Land Bank Act”. This bill changes the name to the “Chapter 140 Land Bank Act” and expands the list of cities authorized to establish a land bank agency to include any city with 1,500 or more inhabitants except in certain noncharter counties and certain charter counties.

Many sections in the Chapter 140 Land Bank Act are amended to include a reference to counties.

For land bank agencies established under the Chapter 140 Land Bank Act, the composition of the board of directors and other requirements, restrictions, and duties of the board members are specified in the bill. Any municipality that establishes a land agency under Section 140.981 may include certain information in the municipal ordinance, as specified in the bill.

Additional powers of a Chapter 140 land bank agency are modified to the extent that: borrowing from private lenders, the state, and the federal government is no longer allowed; the land bank agency can no longer issue notes and other obligations; a reference to specific ways in which a contract will be deemed to have been properly executed is removed; and a land bank agency can no longer lease or rent land bank property as either a lessor or lessee.

When a land bank agency acquires title to property, it must notify the county assessor and collector of all taxes, fines, and fees on the property that will thereafter be deemed satisfied by the transfer of the property to the land bank agency. A land bank agency can acquire property at a sheriff’s tax sale or at a partial opt-in sale under Section 141.821, but the property cannot be partially or wholly located outside the county or municipality of the land bank agency, and it must be adjacent to property already owned by the land bank agency. Property to be added to another parcel already owned by the land bank agency can be purchased at a foreclosure sale. If property is acquired by a land bank agency under certain authorized methods, the excess of the land bank agency’s bid over the amount of the tax bill will be distributed according to Section 140.230, but if the property is acquired under a delinquent land tax auction, any excess will be distributed under Section 141.580. Within one year of the effective date of an ordinance, resolution, or rule establishing a municipal land bank agency, real property held by a land trust must be transferred to the land bank agency.

A land bank agency must disclose for public review whether it acquired property through judicial foreclosure, nonjudicial foreclosure, donation, or other manner. A land bank agency can establish a different hierarchical ranking of priorities for the use of its land as follows: purely public spaces and places; wildlife conservation; a green field area, and a return to private use. The requirement that the sale price for land bank agency property must equal or exceed the tax bill, interest, penalties, attorney’s fees, and costs, is repealed and replaced with the simple requirement that land acquired through purchase, transfer, exchange, or gift must be sold. How the proceeds from the sale of any ancillary parcel must be distributed is repealed, as is the requirement that the sale price of a parcel must be reduced if it is one of five parcels in a single block and no offer for it has been made in the last year, with the reduction in price being advertised.

The duration of time a land bank agency has to sell property or put it to productive use is increased from two to five years. The duration a land bank agency has to sell, clear, or put property to public use is eight years.

Currently, a contract for the sale of residential property owned by the land bank agency requires the buyer to agree to own the property for three years or be civilly liable to the land bank for an amount equal to twice the sale price. The bill repeals this provision and requires a buyer to demonstrate that the buyer does not have a property in the land bank’s jurisdiction with taxes delinquent for more than one year, is not in violation of any municipal building or housing code, and is not the original owner of the property or a relative of the original owners within the second degree of consanguinity.

Foreign and domestic corporations or limited liability companies that do not have a registered agent under State law are not allowed to buy property from a land bank, nor are foreign corporate entities that do not have a certificate of authority to transact business in the State.

A land bank agency can make it a condition of sale that a property owner or the property owner’s successor make certain improvements to the property. If the improvements are not made, the land bank can sue for damages for the breach and seek a judicial foreclosure in which the property would go back to the land bank. As an alternative or in addition to a judicial foreclosure the land bank agency may gift the right to foreclose on the property to a nonprofit organization or exercise the right of reentry. Title will be conveyed by recording the judgment with the recorder of deeds.

A land bank agency can receive funding through gifts from any source, provided that the agency does not sell or otherwise transfer any property held by it to the entity from which it received the gift.

A county that has established a land bank agency my collect a fee for the collection of delinquent and back taxes in an amount up to 5% of all sums collected, which fees must be paid to the land bank agency.

A land bank agency is authorized to receive funds from bonds issued by the county or municipality creating the land bank agency. These bonds will not be deemed an indebtedness within the meaning of any Constitutional or statutory limitation upon incurring indebtedness. The bonds must be authorized by a resolution of the governing body of the county or municipality establishing the land bank agency, which may also issue refunding bonds. The bonds are negotiable instruments under Chapter 400. The bonds and all income or interest thereon are exempt from all State taxes. Temporary notes are also authorized.

A land bank agency may rent or lease property held by the land bank agency for community, noncommercial agricultural uses.

Members of the board are added to a provision that prohibits land bank employees from benefiting from or owning land bank property. For this provision, persons who are related to board members or employees within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity are considered board members or employees.

The bill adds that any other method as may be required by prevailing notions of due process is a permissible means of petition service in a quiet title action.

A land bank agency must be dissolved no sooner than 60 calendar days but no later than 180 calendar days after an ordinance or resolution for its dissolution is passed by the county or municipality that established the land bank agency. Once all outstanding bonds, notes, and other obligations are satisfied, no new property can be acquired by the land bank agency. No additional debts can be incurred unless necessary to sell property or put to public use. The land bank agency must be dissolved within 30 days after all outstanding bonds, notes, and other obligations are satisfied.

The definition of “county” for purposes of Sections 141.210 to 141.810 and Sections 141.980 to 141.1015 (collectively, the land tax collection law) is changed from charter counties and certain first class counties, currently only Buchanan County, to all counties, and the definition of “municipality” is changed from cities of 2,500 inhabitants in charter and first classification counties to all cities in all counties. This bill defines an “interested party”.

Counties may now elect to wholly operate under Sections 141.210 to 141.810 by adopting a resolution or order, or partially by adopting a resolution or order for any parcel or parcels which have back taxes for at least two years from the date on which the taxes became delinquent. No county eligible to establish a land bank under Section 140.981 can be a partial opt-in county unless it first elects to establish a land bank agency as provided in Section 141.981.

For partial opt-in counties, the collector will decide which tax-delinquent parcels will proceed under the land tax collection laws and which will proceed under other laws.

The collector has the option of appointing a delinquent land tax attorney to be compensated as necessary for performing the collector’s duties. The appointed delinquent land tax attorney may appoint assistant attorneys to be compensated as necessary. The collector may pay an appointed delinquent land tax clerk what compensation is deemed necessary, rather than a set fee.

A petition for foreclosure of a tax lien must name each person with a legal interest in the land affected, as discoverable by the collector from publicly available records, and must contain certain information specified in the bill.

The collector must send a copy of the petition by first-class mail to the occupant of the parcel or property which has delinquent taxes.

In partial opt-in counties, the collector must make the following searches, the charge for which can be recovered from the proceeds of the sale:

(1) A title search, not later than 120 days prior to the sale;

(2) The following records, for interested parties and addresses reasonably calculated to apprise interested parties of the suit:

(a) Land title records in the county recorder of deeds office;

(b) Tax records in the office of the local treasurer;

(c) Tax records in the office of the local assessor;

(d) Court records in Missouri CaseNet; and

(e) For a business entity, records filed with the Secretary of State. The charge for these items can be recovered from the proceeds of the sale

No later than 30 days prior to the sale, the collector must send notice of the sale to all interested parties at the address most reasonably apprised to provide notice of the sale. The notice must provide the date, time, and place of the sale, and must state that the property may be redeemed prior to the sale. The charge for this item can be recovered from the proceeds of the sale.

No later that 20 days prior to the sale, the sheriff must post notice of the sale of the size and in the manner set out in the bill. The sheriff also must attempt in-person notice. The charge for these items can be recovered from the proceeds of the sale.

Additional changes to the land tax collection law include:

(1) Changing the laws regarding taxes and penalties for properties subject to certain actions as abandoned property in Jackson County. Currently, a provision allows a court in Jackson County to stay the tax foreclosure sale of property that is the subject of an action for temporary possession for rehabilitation if the party filing the action pays into the court all of the principal land taxes owed. The bill expands this provision to all counties;

(2) Currently, Section 141.540 sets forth the procedure a sheriff must follow when advertising for and selling real property ordered sold pursuant to a judgment of foreclosure by a court under the land tax collection law. The bill repeals almost all other provisions of the section dealing with duties of the county collector related to the sale;

(3) Currently, Section 141.550 deals with the conduct of sale, the sheriff’s return of service, and the sheriff’s deed in Kansas City. The bill adds Sections 141.980 to 141.1015 to the jurisdiction of the section, removes the limitation to Kansas City, gives the place and time of the sale for partial opt-in counties, and specifies what amounts the winning bid must include. Also, foreign and domestic corporations or limited liability companies that do not have a registered agent under State law are not allowed to buy property from a land bank, nor are foreign corporate entities that do not have a certificate of authority to transact business in the State. The official conducting the sale may require an affidavit from the buyer that he or she meets the requirements for purchasers;

(4) Clarifying that Section 141.560 applies to municipalities that have established a land bank agency under other pertinent sections or are in counties that have established a land bank agency, and removing the requirement that a land trust must include certain other costs when a parcel is sold by the land trust;

(5) Modifying the language regarding the title to any real estate that is vested to a purchaser;

(6) Establishing a six-month time limit during which a court should confirm or set aside a foreclosure sale, clarifying who should receive notice of a hearing, and providing what the judgment should state. Section 141.580 will not apply to sales of land to land bank agencies. In partial opt-in counties, funds remaining after the sale and after the distribution as required by law, will be given to the county school fund. Counties operating under the land tax collection law can elect to establish a fund for the purpose of defending against claims challenging the sufficiency of the notice provided. An interested party other than the purchaser must pay into the court the redemption amount prior to a hearing;

(7) Repealing the part of Section 141.610 that provides that one year after a foreclosure sale it will be conclusively presumed that everything was done correctly, and no suit to set aside a deed will be commenced or maintained unless it is filed within one year from the date of sale;

(8) Providing that Section 141.680 does not apply to partial opt-in counties; and

(9) Limiting the applicability of Section 141.700, establishing a land trust, to counties electing to operate under Sections 141.210 to 141.810 prior to January 1, 2025;

In partial opt-in counties, the bill provides for the establishment and make-up of a land trust, the governing board, and the board’s duties and responsibilities (Section 141.821).

The bill designates Sections 141.980 to 141.1015 as the “Chapter 141 Municipal Land Bank Act” in Section 141.980, deletes its limited applicability to municipalities located wholly or partially in counties with a land trust as of January 1, 2012, makes it applicable to counties electing to operate wholly under Sections 141.420 to 141.810, repeals the provision limiting sales made to a single entity to five contiguous parcels per year, and prohibits municipalities in partial opt-in counties from establishing land bank agencies under Section 141.980.

The bill adds that any other method as may be required by prevailing notions of due process is a permissible means of petition service in a quiet title action.

Provisions are added to permit a land bank agency to rent or lease property held by the land bank agency for community, noncommercial agricultural uses.

This bill repeals Section 140.1006, and Sections 141.820 to 141.970 dealing with collection of delinquent taxes in the City of St. Louis.

HOUSE BILL 2111 – POWERS OF THE STATE AUDITOR

This bill defines “improper governmental activity,” as official misconduct, fraud, misappropriation, mismanagement, waste of resources, or a violation of State or Federal law, rule, or regulation.

The bill specifies that the auditor or their authorized representative may audit all or part of any political subdivision or government entity if, after an investigation, the auditor believes improper governmental activity has occurred, or when requested to by a prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney, or law enforcement agency as part of an investigation.

This bill provides that testimony and records obtained through subpoenas issued by the auditor shall be subject to the same confidentiality and disclosure requirements for audit workpapers and related supportive material.

Currently, each fiscal year, the State Auditor must audit, adjust and settle all receipts and disbursements in the insurance dedicated fund and the insurance examiners’ fund, and taxes certified and collected on foreign and domestic insurance premiums, surplus line premiums, and county taxes on property owned by insurance companies. This bill repeals the requirement to audit taxes certified and collected on foreign and domestic insurance premiums, surplus line premiums, and county taxes on property owned by insurance companies and requires that the results of audits of the Insurance Dedicated Fund and the Insurance Examiners’ Fund shall be reported as part of the annual audit of the State’s financial statements.

The bill adds records relating to reports of allegations of improper governmental activities to the list of records exempt from public disclosure.

SENATE BILLS 754, 746, 788, 765, 841, 887 & 861 – PUBLIC SAFETY

This bill modifies provisions relating to Public Safety.

CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARDS

This bill provides that civilian review boards established by political subdivisions are solely limited to reviewing, investigating, making findings, and recommending disciplinary action against law enforcement officers.

EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS

The bill modifies provisions relating to the number of offenses a person may apply to have expunged from his or her record.

Currently, certain offenses, violations, and infractions are not eligible for expungement. This bill adds that the offenses, or successor offenses, of sexual conduct with a nursing facility resident in the second degree, use of a child in sexual performance, promoting a sexual performance of a child, or cross burning shall not be eligible for expungement.

The bill repeals the provision that a court can make a determination at the hearing based solely on a victim’s testimony and adds that a court may find that the continuing impact of the offense upon the victim rebuts the presumption that expungement is warranted.

This bill changes the time a person can petition to expunge an arrest record for an eligible crime from three years after the date of the arrest to 18 months from the date of the arrest.

The bill provides that the effect of an expungement will be to fully restore a person to the status he or she occupied prior to the arrests, pleas, trials, or convictions that were expunged. This bill modifies provisions allowing a person to answer “no” to an employer’s inquiry about any arrests, charges, or convictions of a crime.

Changes to the expungement statute will go into effect January 1, 2025.

SENATE BILLS 894 & 825 — PROMOTION OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

RIGHT-TO-START ACT

This bill establishes the “Right-to-Start Act”.

This bill specifies that no later than June 30, 2026, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of the Office of Administration must file a report with the General Assembly that includes information on contracts awarded to businesses that have been in operation for less than three years, as specified in the bill.

The bill requires the Commissioner, in conjunction with the Office of Entrepreneurship, which is established in the bill, to file a report with the General Assembly making recommendations on improving access and resources for new Missouri businesses that have been in operation for less than three years, including businesses owned by a racial minority group, and women owned and veteran-owned businesses.

OFFICE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

This bill establishes the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Department of Economic Development. The Office will employ an individual to promote policies and initiatives to support the growth of entrepreneurship of Missouri-based businesses with less than 10 employees, including entrepreneurship within racial minority groups, and women and veteran entrepreneurship, in this State.

REGULATORY SANDBOX ACT

The bill establishes the “Regulatory Sandbox Act”, which creates the Regulatory Relief Office within the Department of Economic Development. The Regulatory Relief Office will administer the provisions of the bill with the purpose of identifying State regulations that could potentially be waived or suspended for participating businesses during a two-year period in which the participating business demonstrates an innovative product offering to consumers.

The Regulatory Relief Office will maintain a web page on the Department’s website that invites residents and businesses to make suggestions regarding regulations that could be modified or eliminated to reduce the regulatory burden of residents and businesses in the State.

The Regulatory Relief Office will be responsible for evaluating and approving or denying applications to participate in the Sandbox Program. An applicant will submit an application along with a $300 application fee to the Regulatory Relief Office, which will include contact information and a description of the innovative offering to be demonstrated, including statements regarding how the innovative offering is subject to licensing, legal prohibition, or other authorization requirements outside of the Sandbox Program; each regulation that the applicant seeks to have waived or suspended while participating in the Sandbox Program; how the innovative offering would benefit consumers; and what risks might exist for consumers who use or purchase the innovative offering, as specified in the bill.

No later than 15 business days after the day on which a completed application is received by the Regulatory Relief Office, the Office will review the application and refer the application to each applicable agency, as defined in the bill, that regulates the applicant’s business. No later than 60 days after the day on which an applicable agency receives a completed application for review, the applicable agency will provide a written report to the Sandbox Program director with the applicable agency’s findings, including any identifiable, likely, and significant harm to the health, safety, or financial well-being of consumers and Missouri’s environment that the relevant regulation protects against, and a recommendation to the Regulatory Relief Office that the applicant either be admitted or denied entrance into the Sandbox Program.

An applicable agency may deny an application for reasons described in the bill. The Regulatory Relief Office will not approve any application denied by an applicable agency. Upon the receipt of a report from all applicable agencies, the Regulatory Relief Office will provide the application and associated reports to the General Regulatory Sandbox Program Advisory Committee, which is created by the bill. The Advisory Committee will be composed of 11 members, as specified in the bill including two members of the House of Representatives, one appointed by the Speaker and one appointed by the Minority Leader and two members of the Senate, one appointed by the President Pro Tem and one appointed by the Minority Leader. The Advisory Committee will advise and make recommendations to the Regulatory Relief Office on whether to approve applications to the Sandbox Program, and may meet at its own discretion to override a decision of the Regulatory Relief Office on the admission or denial of an applicant to the Sandbox Program, provided such override is decided with a two-thirds majority vote of the members of the Advisory Committee, and further provided that the vote will be taken within 15 business days of the Regulatory Relief Office’s decision. Meetings of the Advisory Committee will be considered public meetings for the purposes of the Sunshine Law.

Upon approval of an application, a Sandbox participant will have 24 months after the day on which its application was approved to demonstrate the innovative offering described in the Sandbox participant’s application. During such period, the Sandbox participant will be exempt from the regulations outlined in an agreement entered into with the Regulatory Relief Office.

Innovative offerings will only be available to consumers who are residents of this State, and no regulation will be waived or suspended if the waiver or suspension would prevent a consumer from seeking restitution in the event that the consumer is harmed. A Sandbox participant will not be subject to prosecution or administrative penalty for a violation of any regulation that is waived or suspended during the duration of the participant’s demonstration period.

Prior to demonstrating an innovative offering, a Sandbox participant will disclose certain information to consumers, as specified in the bill.

At least 45 days prior to the end of a participant’s demonstration period, the participant will notify the Regulatory Relief Office that it either intends to exit the Sandbox Program or that it seeks an extension. The Regulatory Relief Office may grant an extension not to exceed 12 months, and a participant may seek multiple extensions. If a demonstration includes an innovative offering that requires ongoing services or duties beyond the two-year demonstration period, the participant may continue to demonstrate the offering, but will be subject to all regulations that were waived or suspended as part of the Sandbox Program, provided that any participant that receives an extension to the demonstration period will not be subject to the waived or suspended regulations until after the end of the extended demonstration period.

A Sandbox participant will retain certain records for a period of two years after exiting the Sandbox Program.

The Regulatory Relief Office will establish quarterly reporting requirements for each participant.

No later than 30 days after a sandbox participant exits the Sandbox Program, such participant will submit a written report describing an overview of the demonstration. No later than 30 days after receiving such report, an applicable agency will provide a written report to the Regulatory Relief Office that describes any statutory or regulatory reform the applicable agency recommends.

SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY FAIRNESS BOARD

Provisions in current law establishing the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board are repealed.

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 71 – ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

This Constitutional amendment would, upon voter approval, authorize the levying of costs and fees to support salaries and benefits for sheriffs and former sheriffs, prosecuting attorneys and former prosecuting attorneys, and circuit attorneys and former circuit attorneys.

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 78 – ELECTIONS

Upon voter approval, this resolution changes the state constitution to state that only citizens of the United States are entitled to vote.

This resolution specifies that all elections be by paper ballot or by any mechanical method prescribed by law.

The resolution allows voters only one vote for each issue or seat to be filled at an election. The ranking of candidates for a particular office is prohibited. The candidate receiving the largest number of votes in a party primary will be the only candidate for that party at the general election. The candidate receiving the largest number of votes at the general election will be the winner. These provisions will not apply to any nonpartisan municipal election held in a city that has an ordinance in effect as of November 5, 2024, that requires a preliminary election at which more than one candidate advances to a subsequent election.

Did Not Pass

HIRING EX-OFFENDERS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1969 (Riley, R-Springfield) would have created the “Civil Liability for Employers Hiring Ex-Offenders Act” in Missouri. The goal of the legislation was to address the state’s workforce shortage, create a path to a second chance and liability protections for employers hiring nonviolent ex-offenders. Currently, the lack of protections for employers is creating roadblocks for ex-offenders seeking gainful employment. The bill received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee but was not brought up in executive session.

Senate Bill 1161 (Trent, R-Springfield) would modify several provisions relating to expungement. Specifically, the bill would close records and files maintained by any court pertaining to clean slate eligible offenses without the filing of a petition and requires the Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA) to identify and transfer monthly all clean slate eligible offenses records to the Central Repository and every prosecuting agency in the state within 30 days of the offense becoming eligible for expungement. Additionally, OSCA would report on a yearly basis to certain committees of the General Assembly the number of records expunged and creates the “Missouri Expungement Fund” to provide system upgrades and staffing needs to provide and implement these provisions. Finally, the bill would allow credit bureaus to report records of arrests, indictments pending trial and convictions of crimes for no longer than 7 years from final disposition, unless the records have been expunged or the person pardoned. SB 1161 received a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee but was not brought up in executive session.

CASENET – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1718 (Falkner, R-St. Joseph) would have allowed for the request of expungement of a deceased person’s misdemeanor offense conviction from case automation records if the request is made by a parent, spouse, child, or personal representative. HB 1718 received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee but did not progress any further.

Senate Bill 1230 (Trent, R-Springfield) provided that any official court record pertaining to a case in which a person is charged with a felony, class A misdemeanor, violation for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, offense that can be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor or higher for subsequent violations, sexual offense, and any ordinance violation shall not be made available to a member of the public through a statewide court automation system. However, the official record may be made available through any statewide court automation system to members of the public physically at the courthouse where the official court record is a record for that court. Additionally, such records shall be available in such automation system if the person accessing such record is court personnel, law enforcement agencies, judges, prosecutors, a defendant’s attorney, or any other person needing access to such record if deemed necessary by the court. SB 1230 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee but did not receive a hearing.

BACKGROUND CHECK/FINGERPRINT – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1800 (Copeland, R-Salem) and Senate Bill 875 (Bean, R-Holcomb) would have required boards, state agencies, committees, commissions, and the Supreme Court of Missouri that choose to conduct background checks on applicants, submit fingerprints to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The fingerprints and required fees would first be sent the Missouri State Highway Patrol central repository, then be forwarded to the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol would notify the respective entities of the applicant’s criminal history or lack thereof. Both bills were passed out by their respective chamber’s committees but did not reach the floor.

INTERNET POSTING – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2219 (Buchheit-Courtway, R-Festus) would have allowed for the offense of unlawful posting of information over the internet if the information posted is posted to intimidate or harass a person or to obtain financial gain from such person. The bill was passed out of the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee but did not progress further.

DATA SECURITY – DID NOT PASS

Senate Bill 731 (Rowden, R-Columbia) would have created new consumer rights with respect to the protection of certain data, would have required controllers to perform certain acts and gave enforcement authority to the Attorney General. This legislation was comprehensive, and many groups and organizations had expressed concern to the bill sponsor. Senate Bill 960 (Beck, D-St. Louis) would have changed the notification time to within 14 business days of the discovery or notification of the breach in terms of consumers affected by security breach. Additionally, the act would have authorized any person to bring an action for damages for willful and knowing violation of the notification requirement in instances of a breach of security relating to personal information. Damages shall not exceed $150,000 per breach and a civil penalty for a violation may be awarded but shall not exceed $150,000 per breach. Both bills were referred to a Senate committee but did not receive a hearing.

ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL GOVERNANCY PROXY – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1937 (Owen, R-Springfield) would have included additional standards and provided that the investment fiduciary should not consider environmental, social, or governance characteristics in a manner that would override his or her fiduciary duties. Further, the investment fiduciary would not be subjected to legislative, regulatory, or other mandates to invest with environmentally, socially, or other non-economically motivated influence unless they were consistent with the fiduciary’s responsibilities or divest from any direct holdings. It provided for voting of all shares of common stock solely to further the economic interest of the plan participants and prohibited voting to further noneconomic environmental, social, political, ideological, or other goals. The bill also specified the methods for voting by proxy. HB 1937 was scheduled for a hearing with the House Rules-Regulatory Oversight Committee but was removed from the agenda.

Senate Bill 815 (Carter, R-Granby) would have created new provisions restricting corporate and public entities from making financial decisions that were not based on pecuniary factors. It required written investment policies of the state and each political subdivision to include provisions requiring the investment of public funds to be based solely on pecuniary factors. SB 815 was referred to the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee but did not receive a hearing.

Senate Bill 1113 (Black, R-Chillicothe) would have modified provisions relating to duties of fiduciaries for public employee retirement systems. Specifically, one example of investment fiduciaries that he or she were required to not consider environmental, social, or governance characteristics in a manner that would override his or her fiduciary duties. SB 1113 received a hearing in the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Pensions Committee but the bill did not move out of the committee.

Senate Bill 1302 (Koenig, R-Manchester) created the Foreign Adversary Divestment Act of 2024. Some prohibitions were state-managed funds from holding investments in any foreign adversary and investing or depositing public funds in any bank that is domiciled or has its principal place of business in a foreign adversary. SB 1302 was referred to the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee but did not receive a hearing.

Senate Bill 1518 (Eigel, R-Weldon Springs) prohibited any public entity from discriminating or giving preferential treatment to any bidder, offeror, contractor, or subcontractor, when engaged in procuring or letting contracts for any purpose, based on an environmental, social and governance score. It also prohibited any limited liability company or corporation from being discriminated against or given preferential treatment based on an environmental, social and governance score. SB 1518 was referred to the Senate Governmental Accountability Committee but did not receive a hearing.

POST–AWARD NEGOTIATIONS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1818 (Voss, R-Cape Girardeau) would have allowed for post-award negotiations with the lowest and best responsive vendor if identified in the solicitation along with the time frame for post-award negotiations. The Commissioner of the Office of Administration could have waived post-award negotiations. Certain contract provisions must be reserved for post-award negotiations after the notice of award. If the negotiations failed, the Commissioner could have canceled the award and awarded the contract to the next lowest and best vendor. This bill was passed out of the Missouri House by a vote of 137-0 as well as passed out of the Senate Fiscal Oversight Committee but did not reach the Senate floor.

DRONES – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1609 (Van Schoiack, R-Savannah) would have established the “Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” and modified provisions relating to the use of unmanned aircraft. The bill was voted out of the House Homeland Security Committee but did not progress any further.

ATTORNEY FEES POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2129 (Mackey, D-St. Louis) would have specified that, in a civil action brought by the Attorney General against a political subdivision, including school districts, the court must award attorney’s fees, court costs, and all other expenses incurred by the political subdivision or school district in defense of the action if such action is terminated in favor of the political subdivision or school district. Additionally, any award of attorney’s fees or other expenses incurred by the political subdivision or school district must be paid by funds appropriated to the Attorney General by the General Assembly on an annual basis for the expenses relating to the operation, personal costs, and equipment of the Attorney General’s office, and cannot be paid from any other designated, statutory, or administrative fund. HB 2129 was read a second time but was not referred to a committee.

STUDENT JOURNALIST NEW VOICES ACT – DID NOT PASS

Senate Bill 1099 (Washington, D-Kansas City) contained First Amendment rights and free speech rights for high school and college student journalists. The bill has been introduced in the General Assembly for at least the past five years. A Senate committee hearing was conducted on SB 1099 in late February and voted “do pass” on March 6. The bill was placed on the Senate Perfection Calendar and died.

DRONE USE AND PROHIBITIONS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1415 (Stacy, R-Blue Springs) and House Bill 1609 (Van Schoiack, R-Savannah) were bills with various limitations on the use of drones. Both bills received House committee hearings. HB 1609 was voted “do pass” by committee on February 19 but did not progress further and HB 1415 was not brought up in executive session.

MEDIA LITERACY, PILOT PROGRAM – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1513 (Murphy, R-St. Louis), House Bill 1569 (Kelley, R-Lamar) and Senate Bill 1311 (Trent, R-Springfield) each had versions of a pilot program in schools for the Medial Literacy and Critical Thinking Act. HB 1513 was passed out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee but did not progress further. SB 1311 was heard in the Senate Select Committee on Empowering Missouri Parents and Children but was not brought up in executive session. HB 1569 was passed out of the Missouri House by a vote of 125-8 as well as passed out of a Senate committee but did not reach the Senate floor.

CLOSING PUBLIC RECORDS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1553 (Sassmann, R-Bland) and Senate Bill 1019 (Brown, R-Rolla) were identical bills that would have closed records of persons who stay overnight, lodging in Missouri State Parks. HB 1553 was voted consent by a House committee and was placed on the House Informal Perfection Calendar but did not progress further. SB 1019 was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee but did not progress further.

House Bill 1718 (Falkner, R-St. Joseph) was a bill to remove from CaseNet any misdemeanor offenses of a deceased person. The bill received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee but did not move forward.

House Bill 1720 (Falkner, R-St. Joseph) would have allowed any public governmental body to close information about a person, age 17 or younger. The bill passed the House on February 8. A Senate committee on April 2 added an amendment to close information about persons staying overnight, lodging in Missouri State Parks, and voted “do pass” on the bill. However, it did not move forward. The language about minors’ information was amended onto Senate Bill 736 (Crawford, R-Buffalo) on the House floor May 14, but the bill died.

House Bill 2206 (West, R-Wentzville) became an omnibus local government bill when reconsidered by a House committee on April 3, and House Bill 1720’s language closing minors’ records was added. The bill was placed on the House Formal Perfection Calendar on May 9, but died.

MAJOR WATER USERS’ INFORMATION CLOSED – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2669 (Diehl, R-Butler) and Senate Bill 1351 (Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville) were similar bills that would require the Department of Natural Resources to close personal information of major water users, primarily farmers’ information. HB 2669 was passed by a House committee and placed on the House floor calendar in mid-April but did not move forward. SB 1351 passed the Missouri Senate by a vote of 23-10, was voted “do pass” by a House committee on May 9, but died on the House floor calendar.

CHANGES IN REDACTION OF COURT DOCUMENTS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2064 (Black, R-Marshfield) was an omnibus civil proceedings bill that included provisions amending state law related to what information must be redacted from court documents. The bill was to fix language that was passed in Senate Bill 103 during 2023’s legislative session. The changes included redacting information concerning a victim or witness in a criminal case that is confidential “as otherwise provided by statute or prescribed in Missouri Supreme Court Rules of Criminal Procedure or Operating Rules.” It also added any other information redacted for good cause by order of the court. The bill moved through the House and was added to House Bill 1886 (Veit, R-Wardsville) by a Senate committee and voted “do pass” on May 6, but it died in the Senate. During the final weeks of session, this language was added to numerous House and Senate bills by amendment with the help of the Missouri Supreme Court. However, this language did not pass on any legislation that reached the Governor’s desk.

MODIFIES ‘PAID FOR BY’ STATEMENTS IN ADS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1587 (Clemens, D-St. Ann) would have required any printed material paid for by a campaign committee to include a statement identifying the three largest donors to the committee in the preceding quarter. The bill did not receive a committee hearing and died.

House Bill 2544 (Morse, R-Dexter) required any printed or broadcast ad for a candidate or ballot measure to provide a citation of the original source when referencing published material. The citation was to include information specified in the bill and must appear near the “paid for by” notice for published material, and with the sponsor identification for broadcast material. The bill died in committee.

ANTI-SLAPP – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1886 (Veit, R-Wardsville) was a comprehensive judicial proceedings bill that included establishing the “Uniform Public Expression Protection Act,” known as anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation). HB 1886 passed the House by a vote of 146-6 on April 15, and was voted “do pass” by a Senate committee on May 6. House Bill 2064 (Black, R-Marshfield), which amends some portions of redactions of information in court records, was added to the bill and reported to the Senate floor where it died. Senate Bill 897 (Trent, R-Springfield) also contained anti-SLAPP language and was voted “do pass” by a Senate committee on April 22, but died. Senate Bill 1293 (Gannon, R-DeSoto) was an anti-SLAPP bill, but did not receive a Senate committee hearing. This language was added to a few bills dealing with crime and judicial procedures, however, none of these bills reached final passage.

MSHSAA AND ITS DECISION-MAKING – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2378 (Cook, R-Houston) would have prohibited the Missouri State High School Activities Association from serving as the appellate body that handles appeals of decisions also made by the MSHSAA. The legislature’s Joint Committee on Education would have the authority to consider such appeals. The bill was passed by a House committee on March 27, but did not move forward, and died.

AI GENERATED POLITICAL MEDIA PROHIBITED – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2628 (Baker, R-Neosho) was legislation that pushed back against false political advertising produced by artificial intelligence (AI). The bill passed the House, and a Senate committee amended the bill, setting the bill’s penalties for the most part as misdemeanors for the makers of deepfake videos that are used within 18 weeks of an election to injure the reputation of a candidate or party or otherwise deceive voters. The bill does not apply to radio or television stations, cable or satellite television operators that broadcast a deceptive deepfake as part of a bona fide newscast, news interview, documentary or other coverage, if the broadcast acknowledges there are questions about the authenticity of the material. The section shall not apply to radio or television stations, cable or satellite television when it is paid to broadcast a deceptive and fraudulent deepfake. The responsibility and liability rests solely with the advertiser or entity that paid for the broadcast. The bill was voted “do pass” by the Senate committee on April 23 and reported to the Senate on April 25, but did not pass. Senate Bill 1444 (McCreery, D-Olivette) was a similar bill that did not receive a Senate committee hearing. House Bill 2573 (Schwadron, R-St. Charles) created the offense of and civil penalties for disclosure of intimate digital depictions. The bill was voted “do pass” by a House committee on March 26, but did not move forward, and died.

HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONERS’ ADS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2534 (Thomas, R-Lake Ozark) required that any advertisements for the services of a health care practitioner must include the person’s full name and title, and no ads can include any fraudulent misrepresentations of information relating to the person. The bill received a hearing in the House Health and Mental Health Committee but was not voted on by the committee, and it died. Senate Bill 1313 (Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville) was a similar bill, referred to the Senate Governmental Accountability Committee, but did not receive a committee hearing.

LICENSE PLATE READER – DID NOT PASS

Senate Bill 1334 (Eigel, R-Weldon Springs) and Senate Bill 1337 (Coleman, R-Arnold) would have prohibited state agencies and political subdivisions from purchasing, installing, or using automated license plate reader systems (ALPRs) as defined in the act, and from accessing or using captured license plate data from vehicles located on public highways. The act contains an exception for ALPRs affixed to vehicles occupied by police officers, and an exception for the accessing and use of data collected by a third party for financial responsibility verification and enforcement as provided by law. Both bills were referred to the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee but did not receive a hearing.

CIVIL LIABILITY OF PUBLISH TO MINORS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 1426 (McGirl, R-Potosi), House Bill 1855 (Banderman, R-St. Clair) and House Bill 1993 (Gallick, R-Belton) were similar bills and would have required commercial websites with more than 33 1/3% of material that is deemed harmful to children, to verify that those accessing the site are 18 years of age or older. Additionally, the bills impose a civil penalty for damages if a minor is harmed. HB 1426 and HB 1855 were superseded by HB 1993 which was passed out of the House Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee but did not progress further.

Senate Bill 1330 (Schroer, R-O’Fallon) would have established a cause of action against libraries for furnishing or allowing access of pornographic materials to minors. It provided that a public library, library board, member, officer, or trustee of a library board, or any librarian, employee, or agent of a public library or library board would be held liable for the damages of furnishing or allowing access of pornographic materials to a minor, regardless of if the contents and character of the materials are known. Any action brought pursuant to this act would commence within 15 years of the date of such furnishment or access provided to the minor. In addition to attorney’s fees, a prevailing plaintiff would be entitled to at least $25,000 for each occurrence, except such damages would not exceed $100,000 for all claims arising out of an occurrence. SB 1330 was referred to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, but did not receive a hearing.

SELF-STORAGE UNIT AUCTION NOTICES – DID NOT PASS

Several bills contained language regarding auction notices currently required to be published in newspapers when self-storage unit dealers sell property of a renter who is delinquent on rental payments. The legislation allows storage facility operators to advertise default auctions in the classified section of a newspaper prior to the sale, OR the operator may instead advertise in any other commercially reasonable manner such as online. House Bill 1948 (Diehl, R-Butler) was passed by the House on March 27 by a vote of 138-8. The bill was voted “do pass” by a Senate committee and reported to the Senate floor calendar on May 6, where it died. Senate Bill 938 (Brown, R-Rolla) was a similar bill that was heard by a Senate committee on March 12 and voted “do pass” on April 9, but did not move forward. The notice language was amended to House Bill 2780 (Hicks, R-Lake St. Louis) with a House floor amendment by Rep. Diehl on April 3. HB 2780 passed the House on April 15, and a Senate committee hearing was conducted on April 29, however, the bill was voted “do pass” but did not move forward. Two other bills, Senate Bill 736 and Senate Bill 835, both sponsored by Sen. Crawford (R-Buffalo) and both passed by the Senate, received House committee amendments with the auction notice language. On May 14, both bills were taken up by the House. Senate Bill 736 was amended to remove the self-storage unit language. Both bills passed the House, but they died in the Senate.

COUNTY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2571 (McGaugh, R-Carrollton) and Senate Bill 1362 (Crawford, R-Buffalo) were bills that would have condensed the county financial statements in all counties and be published on or before June 30 annually in newspapers. House Bill 2571 was passed by the House on May 8 by a vote of 148-0 but received no Senate action. Senate Bill 1362 was voted from committee in February but died on the Senate perfection calendar. Missouri Press Association was in support of both bills. On May 14, the county financial statement language was added as amendments to Senate Bill 736 and Senate Bill 835 (Crawford, R-Buffalo), but they died.

ELIGIBILITY TO PUBLISH PUBLIC NOTICES – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2301 (McGaugh, R-Carrollton) would allow newspapers that have published regularly and consecutively for one year to be eligible to publish public notices. Current law requires three years of publication prior to eligibility. The bill received a hearing and was voted “do pass” by the House committee on February 19. No further action and the bill died.

NOTICES ON SECRETARY OF STATE’S WEBSITE – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2328 (Casteel, R-High Ridge) would have placed all public notices on the Secretary of State’s website, instead of in newspapers. The bill was heard in a House committee on March 6, but died after no further action.

NOTICES FOR ‘MASTER AGREEMENT’ SERVICES – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2314 (Brown, R-New Madrid) would have required public notices for certain services to the state such as architecture, engineering, or land-surveying to be published in newspapers. The bill received House committee hearings in March and was placed on the House Informal Perfection Calendar on April 16, where it died.

DELINQUENT TAX PROPERTY AUCTIONS ONLINE – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2588 (Reedy, R-Windsor) and Senate Bill 1363 (Crawford, R-Buffalo) were local government bills that contained language to allow county collectors to conduct delinquent tax sale auctions online, but newspaper public notices would still be required. House Bill 2588 received a committee hearing but did not move forward. Senate Bill 1363 passed the Senate in mid-March and was on the House Informal Calendar for Senate Bills for Third Reading on May 14. The online auction language was added to Senate Bill 736 (Crawford, R-Buffalo) and passed by the House on May 14, returned to the Senate, and died.

COUNTY RECORDING – DID NOT PASS

House Bill 2377 (Pouche, R-Kansas City) would have required county recorder of deeds, by January 1, 2025, to provide a system for notifying individuals and entities when a document was recorded with the individual or entity as a named party to the document. The notice would be provided promptly by email, text message, or other similar means. The individual or entity could choose to participate, and participation would have been voluntary. HB 2377 was scheduled for the House Local Government Committee, but it was removed from the hearing’s agenda.

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